Was Sweetwater Bombing Revenge?


Sweetwater, Monroe County (WVLT) – Police are releasing new details about a man police believe planted pipe bombs at a Sweetwater Police Department impound lot.

Jeffery Jones of Rhea County is in jail, charged with possession of a destructive device.

A check of his criminal record reveals what police believe could be his motive.

It appears Jeffery Jones has a history of prescription fraud, but when they confiscated his truck, police believe he may have used the pipe bombs as his way of getting back at police.

Charged with possession of a destructive device, authorities now say some sort of revenge could be a motive for the bombing of the Sweetwater Police Department impound lot.

"It appears inside the impound lot he was trying to destroy as many as he could. There were two pipe bombs we originally found were located underneath his vehicle," says Sweetwater Police Chief Eddie Byrum.

Jones' vehicle was confiscated last year after he was charged with prescription fraud.

"He had called wanting his vehicle back and we had told him the procedures and he would receive the paperwork from the state," Byrum says.

The investigation led to a search at Jones' Spring City home where they found what they were looking for.

"Preassembled pipes that were scored in a way so that they would fragment. There were three," says Sweetwater Police Detective Bill Illingworth.

"It's not something sloppy that you would think a kid or something like that would make. He actually has some machinist skills and had machine equipment in his basement," says Byrum.

Over the last two years, Jones has been charged with prescription fraud in four jurisdictions.

In Sweetwater he faces 17 counts, 28 counts in Rhea County, convicted in January of 20 counts in McMinn County, and still faces a single count in Bradley County.

And Jones legal problems may only get worse as Rhea County, authorities say a variety of pills were confiscated at his home and could face possible federal charges on other items found.

"A large collection of both long guns and handguns, ammunition for both," says Illingworth.

A busy man, but also a quiet man.

"Yes, he stayed to himself. I think he's got signs down there that's posted Keep out. He's pretty off to himself," says Angie Rhinehart, who knows Jones.

Rhea County authorities say they expect to file charges on Jones for the pills found at his home.

But Chief Byrum also says the media played a major role in helping solve the crime. He says due to WVLT's footage they received many calls from the public which helped connect Jones to the crime.


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